From the recording Qualchan
By the end of 1857 the Yakama War was beginning to cool down. John Mullan began constructing a wagon road from Fort Benton to Fort Walla Walla as part of the railroad survey. That all came to an end in the spring of 1858 when Colonel Edward Steptoe and 158 troops went into Palouse country to investigate a report that two miners had been killed by Indians on their way to Colville. When Steptoe departed from Fort Walla Walla he expected little resistance from the Palouse and none from the Spokane and Coeur d’Alene Tribes. After crossing the Snake River they proceeded east towards Steptoe Butte where they were met by a group of Spokane Indians who declared they would fight if the soldiers advanced any further. After observing many Indians on the hill sides, Steptoe saw that his mission was pointless. He began a full retreat the next morning, Monday May 17, 1858. Throughout the day troops were attacked by Indians from the hill sides by members of Coeur d’Alene, Spokane, Palouse and Yakama Tribes, including Kamiakin, Owhi and Qual Chan. Steptoe managed to escape with most of his command during the night, leaving behind mules, cannons and equipment. Seven men died and thirteen were wounded.
by Robert Singletary